Wednesday, 9 April 2014


Corrie Ten Boom, in her book "The Hiding Place" tells the story of her life in Haarlem, the Netherlands and her incarceration in Ravensbruck concentration camp during World War II. One of the experiences she chronicles is a relationship with a young man which she expected would lead to marriage. However, the man chose to marry another. From her account in the book it seems that Corrie knew, following the end of this relationship, that she would remain single throughout her life.

If Corrie had married and had a family if she would have no doubt experienced a very different life to the one she lived as an evangelist and prolific writer. Her testimony of faith in extremely difficult circumstances has touched many hearts and lives worldwide.

We live in a world which encourages people to "have it all." We are set almost impossibly unrealistic standards of achievement in a multitude of areas- career, health and fitness, family life, social connections, travel and displaying a showcase home with all its accoutrements.In the western world many people are stressed and depressed, unable to cope with all the conflicting demands made upon them.

Some churches, too, sadly, have bought into the gospel of having it all. Some sermons sound more like a psychology lesson than a call to repentence and holiness.

Because the truth is, you can't have it all. If you think you know anyone who does, you are probably mistaken. We all have to prioritise where we are going to place our time, money and effort. The choices we make regarding these things will determine the destiny of our own lives and those of others around us.

One thing I am absolutely sure of is that God honours the sacrifices that are made for His sake. Have a look at Jackie Pullinger's Youtube clip entitled "Go"

People like Jackie epitomise what the gospel message is all about- losing your life to find it elsewhere. Yet wherever we are, the message is the same. There is a cost of being a Christian if you think of Christianity in the world's terms. Far beyond giving up certain foods for the period of Lent, Christians may have to give much more.

The world says " Get rich, amass as much for yourself as you can " - Jesus says share with those in need and with the body of Christ.
The world says invest your time in yourself and your personal goals. Jesus says invest your time in kingdom goals.
The world says seek social standing and status. Jesus says serve others with humility.
The world says its okay to chop and change relationships if they don't work out. Jesus says marriage is for better or worse, for life.
For Jesus' sake we may have to turn our backs on riches, prestige and relationships that are not in accordance with His will.

Jesus lived a short life on earth and died a horrible and painful death for our sakes. He never experienced an earthly marriage or children or home ownership. He was rejected and alienated and misunderstood and mocked and scorned. His was the supreme sacrifice- the only sinless person, tried and convicted and wrongfully killed, to honour and obey His Father and make a way for sinful humanity to be able to be in right relationship with God again, through His atoning blood.

Yet God does not see His children forsaken and provides so much over and above what we need. Far more importantly, our relationship with Him is richness beyond measure, beyond any earthly success or acquisition or relationship.

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